Kendall Trieglaff, BS; Madeline J. Zamzow, BS; Bryn Sutherland, BA; Amy Farkas, MD, MS; Sandra Pfister, PhD
Introduction: The importance of the inclusion of sex and gender medicine (SGM) in medical education has been recognized formally by both the American Association of Medical Colleges and the Department of Health and Human Services since 1995. Yet, few medical schools, including the Medical College of Wisconsin, have a standard SGM curriculum. This work mapped the SGM health topics taught in the Medical College of Wisconsin preclinical curriculum.
Methods: Seven medical students audited 16 basic science preclinical courses in 2020-2021. SGM characterizations, including epidemiology, diagnosis, presentation, treatment, prognosis, pharmacology, and disparity, were captured by an online survey tool. Comparisons were made to 38 high-yield topics presented in the textbook “How Sex and Gender Impact Clinical Practice: An Evidence-Based Guide to Patient Care.”
Results: Of the 604 preclinical sessions audited, 54% contained some SGM content. Epidemiology was the most common characterization (23% of total). Thirty-four of the 38 high-yield clinical SGM topics received mention in the basic science sessions. Breast cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, sex and gender considerations in therapeutic response, and systemic lupus erythematosus had the most frequent SGM-specific coverage (representation in at least 4 of the 16 preclinical courses).
Conclusions: Utilizing a medical student cohort to thoroughly audit courses was an effective way to document that Medical College of Wisconsin preclinical curriculum introduces many clinically relevant SGM topics. However, the audit also discovered varying levels of detail among the high-yield topics with concern that students may not be adequately prepared to treat all patients. These results establish the groundwork for a more formalized and integrated approach to include SGM in preclinical curriculum.